So what do you do ….. No 184

One of the things about moving house is the way you end up reading five year old copies of the News of the World as you wrap the china.  There is a timelessness to smut.

I don’t quite know why I ended up last week reading the Church Times of July and, in particular, its ‘How Bishops are viewed’ feature.  It seemed to me to be a rather strange piece – the options offered, for example, did not include ‘Leader of Mission’ and invited people to explore what I believe to be false oppositions such as, ‘The Church’s main building block is not diocese but parish’

Be that as it may, I was interested to find tucked away somewhere below the coffee mug stain this rather remarkable statement: ‘ … it is time to turn the deanery of 25 to 35 into a diocese.  We must leave behind all the expensive and irrelevant trappings …. and instead make the episcopal task more manageable and realistic so that practical demonstration may be given to the essential warmth and care of the episcopal shepherd who is meant to mirror the Good Shepherd himself’

So welcome to the Scottish Episcopal Church – and indeed to many other parts of the Anglican world.  I think there is a lot of truth in that.  As always, there is a Goldilocks principle in there.  Close enough to be a pastor but not unhelpfully close.  I don’t hear much concern from our clergy that my time may be a bit less directed towards the diocese … we need constantly to negotiate what is ‘just right’


  1. That’s it – you are the episcopal good shepherd. What better model for leadership could we want. One who is practical and protective, but not sentimental when we all want to go in different directions. And reading recent blogspot one who doesn’t mind venturing out in the snow to tend his flock.

  2. Can’t seriously see English bishops used to the grandeur of their office becoming like a Church of Ireland bishop.

  3. There is something of shadow and light in our negotiation as well. When we need a profit, we want a pastor… when we need an administrator, we want a philosopher… when we need an apostle, we want a contemplative… “just right” is surely ever changing.

    1. I like that. And what it says to me is that the energy often flows better when two or more things work together. Over-compartmentalisation is today’s way.

  4. Dear David

    Voice from the past here – Dermot Agnew from Trinity days. Listened to your sermon yesterday and was so impressed I even replayed it on Listen Again. Nice to hear some good common sense. I am in London at the Opera House CG these days. Hope you are Alison are both well. Give her my love Dermot

    1. Hi Dermot – glad to hear from you. Hope you continue to enjoy the metropolitan world. We’re a long way north ..

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